In Defense of Personality Quizzes
We all walk through life with different labels, some of which we love and embrace, and others we despise and try to defy. For example, the term “millennial” is sometimes used as an insult but I (a millennial) don’t actually see anything offensive about it. It means you were born somewhere between 1977 and 1995. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Just like there’s nothing wrong with being a baby boomer (born from 1943 and 1960.)
Some labels have a stigma or stereotype attached to them, which may or may not be true. But a lot of labels help us understand ourselves better, such as the Myers-Briggs personality test and the Four Temperaments Test. Personality tests can help us find and identify our true strengths and weaknesses so that we can adapt to them and improve ourselves and our work ethic.
Understanding how we process information, how we communicate, and which work environments we thrive in, can help us be more successful and work more efficiently.
Here’s a breakdown of what the different traits in the most popular personality test, Myers-Briggs, means:
This portion of the personality quizzes is the most self-explanatory. You can usually sense whether you are an introvert or an extrovert without taking a quiz. Those with extroverted tendencies get energy when they work in groups. They’re quick to work to get things done but can sometimes jump in too soon, before they know exactly what they’re doing.
Introverts prefer to think things through thoroughly, working alone or in smaller groups of people they’re already familiar with. The downside of this personality trait in the workplace can be that the spend too long thinking and don’t work quickly enough to solve the problem.
The easiest way to remember Sensing is that it relies on the five senses. What you see, hear, touch, taste, and smell are the cold, hard facts that you are concerned with. If you have Sensing tendencies you are very practical but you can sometimes miss out on new possibilities that you don’t have experience with.
Intuition, on the other hand, is very attracted to new possibilities and is often thinking more about the future than past experiences. Those with Intuition tendencies focus more on impressions received than actual facts and solve problems by thinking of brand new ideas and theories. The downside to this is that sometimes Intuition forgets to think of how to make the new ideas a reality.
When working, it’s important to note whether your knee-jerk reactions stem from the way you think or the way you feel. There are, of course, pros and cons to both sides. The pros of those who fall under the Thinking category is that they usually don’t let their own desires influence them. This can be a necessary skill, but can also lead to being so task-oriented that they are indifferent to the people their circumstances affect.
The pros of working with a more Feeling-oriented point of view is that they can see what is best for everyone involved and make that their priority. They’re usually excellent at communicating and de-escalating a situation, but they struggle with getting across any cold or hard truths.
Falling into the “Judging” category can often be confused with being a judgmental person – that’s not actually what it means. “Judging” in this case means that you rely more on your Thinking/Feeling decision-making preference than on your Sensing/Intuition perceiving abilities. Judging people like to make decisions and get things done quickly. They avoid procrastinating, but the downside is that they might miss new information after focusing for so long on one thing.
The Perceiving personality trait prefers to live life a little more flexible, open to new opportunities that may arise. They like to understand their world (through either Sensing or Intuition) and then react to it rather than organizing like a Judging person might. In the workplace, a Perceiving type is open to change but may have difficulty making decisions.
Most of us can see ourselves fitting into these different categories. As an INFP (Introvert, Intuition, Feeling, Perceiving), I know that I have personal weaknesses that I have to overcome in the workplace. Just as my personality opposite, an ESTJ (Extrovert, Sensing, Thinking, Judging), has their own weaknesses. But we each have our individual strengths as well that we can use to our advantage in the workplace.
You can take the Myers-Briggs test for free here to learn more about yourself and start working more productively: https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test